Equipe, groupe de sauveteurs sur la plage.

Team vs Group

Why do we talk about rock bands and sports teams, and never the other way around? In both cases, it's made up of at least two people, who master a technique, practice and evolve together to achieve a goal. So what's the difference? (photo Margarida Csilva - Unsplash)

In our team coaching interventions, we systematically address this distinction. It often leads to rich and intense discussions. 
In the professional world, we talk almost exclusively about teams, we expect "team spirit" and seek "team cohesion".
And yet, we sometimes speak more to groups than to teams, or even teams of teams.
Before you get totally lost, let's get one thing straight.

What is a team? 

The simplest description: several individuals doing "together" what one individual alone could not accomplish. 
You'll never see a basketball player have a solo career, but a singer or a guitarist will!  

So what is a group?
Several people working together to achieve a result, based on their expertise without there necessarily being an interdependence or even a connection between them. 

In a music band, the complementary nature of the profiles makes for uniqueness, sometimes to the detriment of cohesion. 

The difference between a group and a team may seem small, but it's essential.  

A team - and the team spirit that stems from it - is built when the interdependence between its members, the consideration of external stakeholders and the understanding of its purpose are known and shared by all.  

Collective intelligence takes precedence over the individual, and collaboration over personal success: a team is "at the service of”.

If you take a rock band (not a boys band created from scratch), its purpose is to make music, music that sounds and looks ike the band, not to serve this or that stakeholder. The most important of these, the audience, will come later. Or not

Conversely, a team is created to meet the expectations of one or more stakeholders. These stakeholders define the team's purpose. As long as this is valid, real and clear, the team exists and will add value.

You'll never see a music band forming to create elevator music....